3 Finer Details- What to look for when buying shoes

Updated: Jul 14

When it comes to purchasing your next pair of shoes, don’t forget to look out for these three finer details. After all, the small things really do make a big difference.

So, you’ve found a pair of shoes you like online or in a shop – what do you usually check before parting with your hard-earned cash? You might ask questions like... What to look for when buying shoes? Is it good to buy shoes online? The size? The price? The feel? While they are all important elements, there are a few finer details you should be looking for when buying a pair of shoes that stand the test of time, are versatile and look bloody amazing! Don’t stitch yourself up As the old saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine. The stitching of a shoe might seem like a minor detail in the grand scheme of things, but it sure does play a pivotal role in prolonging the longevity of your footwear. There are a lot of ways a shoe can be stitched and constructed. A sign of a poorly made shoe is if the sole is cemented directly onto the bottom of the shoe upper. The problem here is that the soles cannot be replaced once they start to deteriorate. As a result, you’re forced to throw the shoe away, which will cost you in the long run. Instead, you should be aiming to find a shoe that benefits from one of two methods of stitching – Goodyear, and Blake.

The Goodyear welt machine was invented by Charles Goodyear Jnr in 1869 and is a staple part of the Northampton cobbling industry. This method involves placing a leather welt on the edge of the outside sole along with a vertical rib on the bottom side of the insole – running parallel to the outside sole. Once the upper is placed in between the soles, the cobbler stitches through all of the layers.

Finally, a visible stitch is put through the welt and the bottom sole to give the shoe the trademark Goodyear look. This makes the shoes look and last a lot longer. In fact, it’s because of these very reasons that we use this process to make our range of Percy Stride shoes. If you prefer an Italian look, you can always go for shoes that have been Blake stitched. Unlike Goodyear, there are no external stitches and the outsole can position itself a lot closer to the upper – making it a bit lighter and more streamlined. However, if you do fancy a Blake stitched shoe, just be wary that the sole doesn’t tend to last as long as a Goodyear and it isn’t the best option for wet British days. Keep your eyelets peeled If you’re unfamiliar with eyelets, these are the tabs where the laces come out of. These small and practical features can really make or break a shoe design – especially when you’re thinking about purchasing a pair of dress shoes. Some cheaper shoes and regular designs will have eyelets on the top of the shoe vamp, making it look a bit lumpy. As a rule of thumb, noticeable eyelet features aren't a good thing.

The distinctive style of an Oxford shoe is to hide the eyelet tabs under the vamp. This makes them look clean and sleek. Colour means everything The final element to consider before buying a pair of shoes online is the colour. It may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people simply buy dress shoes and trainers solely on face value.

In other words, they like the look of them but haven’t considered what they go with. For instance, if you tend to wear black jeans on a daily basis, you're probably not going to get the best usage out of brown shoes. Similarly, the style of your outfits matters too. You can dare to go for shiny shoes if you’re matching them with smart wedding and party attire. Whereas if you're wearing trousers and suits to work, bold footwear styles might make you look odd. Always harmonise the colour of your shoes and trousers. Try our blog: How to wear dress shoes with jeans for a little more inspiration! For more top buying guides and style tips, subscribe to our newsletter below.

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